GENRE: Gay Erotic Romance (MMM)
LENGTH: 86,931 words
A year has passed since Derek's motorcycle accident, but he still battles with brain injury symptoms. Forced to take a sick leave from work, Derek picks up painting to occupy his time. Through his art, he begins to rediscover his imagination and turns to his journal again.
Meanwhile, a new business venture is on the horizon for Nick and he can't postpone his trip to Norway any longer. Concerned for Derek's safety, Nick convinces Derek he needs someone to watch over him while he's away.
Myles has just returned from Japan, where he spent time mending his heart after another disappointment. He's longing for a break, so when Nick and Derek reach out to him, he can't refuse.
Each man wants what's best for Derek, but Nick and Myles discover they're not rivals, because what's between them is echoed in Derek's heart.
Can all three men let go of their fear and allow this new love to unfold?
Note: may contain sexually explicit scenes of a homoerotic nature.
Something hard was digging into my cheek. I realized I'd fallen asleep with the side of my face pressed into the corner of the leather seat cushion. I probably had an imprint there. I was still so tired, barely awake, but then I heard Derek's voice and looked over at the dining room/kitchen area. He and Myles were sitting at the breakfast nook by the dark window. I couldn't help listening to their hushed words.
"I wish I could go with him," Derek was saying. "He's gonna be asked to look over some crucial papers and he has trouble with reading and I won't be there to help."
"Wait," Myles said, soothingly. "He'll scan them or take pictures of the important documents, and we'll read everything for him. Der, it's gonna be okay."
"But the idea of him being so far away again ... What if something happens to him?"
"Nothing's gonna happen to Nick."
"I don't know why I'm so anxious lately, so clingy and emotional. I feel like I'm twelve again, lost in my imaginary world, waiting for him to come home."
"It's temporary. You'll heal and be back to yourself."
"But, Myles, what if this is it for me? What if I don't get b-better?"
I couldn't be quiet anymore. I stood, and the second I did, they both turned to look at me. Quickly, Derek gave me a fake smile. "We woke you. I'm sorry."
"Hey," I said, pulling up a chair to the table lit by a low hanging lamp. "You're gonna get better, Der. Your doctor says --"
"No, I know. I know." He patted my hand.
"I wanna take you with me to Norway. You do know that, right?"
He nodded. "Yeah ... I know."
"You say the word, and I'll stay." I glanced over at Myles, who seemed surprised I'd say such a thing, and then looked at Derek again. "I mean -- it's a fantastic idea, a great dream, but I can postpone everything."
Derek shook his head, wringing his hands over the table. "No way. No. I'm insecure. Kind of messed up lately. But I don't want you to postpone anything, I swear."
"Yeah?" I tipped my head, watching him. "We're gonna be okay?"
Derek smiled a little. "Yes."
"Good. All right." I tossed my chin up at Myles. "How about you, hairdresser?"
"Me?" Myles frowned, casting his eyes down. "Uh, yeah, I'm okay."
"Sure?" I gently kicked his foot under the table. He shot me a quick glance. "Come on, Myles, we're having a heart to heart here."
This time, he really looked at me. "I have nothing to say."
He was definitely a tough nut to crack. "All right then." I stood and looked down at Derek. "We should go to bed. They're all coming over tomorrow."
"The whole clan?"
"For dinner, remember. They all wanna say goodbye, and my mother has a bunch of crap she wants me to bring Uncle Sven."
"Wait, so on the day before you leave, you're gonna be cooking for eleven people?"
"Never a dull moment."
Myles stood. "I'll help," he said, stuffing his hands into his front pockets. "With everything."
"Oh yeah? Cool. That'd be nice."
"Well," Myles said, stepping away. "Good night, guys."
Derek got out of his seat. "Hey, don't I get a hug?"
"Yes, absolutely." Myles pulled Derek into his arms and hugged him tight. They were a mirror to one and other, showing each other a hidden part of themselves. "Okay, goodnight," he said again, releasing Derek. He looked at me. "Goodnight, Nick."
I winked playfully. "So do I get a hug?"
He gave Derek a wide-eyed look.
"I'm just messing with you." I walked away. "See you in the morning."
In the hall, I heard Myles say, "I was gonna give him a hug."
"Oh, he knows," Derek said. "But you missed your chance. You have to be quick with him. You'll learn."